Times Cryptic 26528 – A Touch of Frost

This one took me a leisurely 37 minutes so I imagine some of the speed-merchants will be home within 10 today. There’s a reminder of the winter weather to come at 17ac and 16dn, and the drink at 22ac is sour and cold, but inner warmth is available courtesy of 12ac and 23ac. Here’s my blog…

 As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]

1 First rule picked up? (9)
PRINCIPAL – Sounds like [picked up] “principle” (rule)
6 Screw up — and down? (5)
FLUFF – Two definitions. Actors may screw up their performance by fluffing their lines. Down or fluff as on ducklings.
9 A pistol shot that’s carried on a yard (7)
TOPSAIL – Anagram [shot] of A PISTOL. I know that sailing ships have yardarms and I take the nautical definition on trust.
10 Work to preserve vale (7)
CANTATA – CAN (preserve), TA-TA (vale – farewell)
11 Female parent less chubby (3)
HER – {fat}HER (parent) [less chubby – with fat removed]
12 Unseemly Ryder Cup row that heats up the course (5,6)
CURRY POWDER – Anagram [unseemly] of RYDER CUP ROW and a cryptic reference to food in the definition. The courses for the Ryder Cup alternate between Europe and the USA, and I gather from Vinyl1’s remarks yesterday that it is currently taking place west of the pond.
14 Call a number on the phone to speak at length (6)
DILATE – Allegedly sounds like [on the phone] “dial” (call), “eight” (number). I didn’t know this definition of “dilate” but the wordplay made the answer inevitable.
15 Figure lying back on table finds earwig (6,2)
LISTEN IN – LIST (table), NINE (figure) reversed [lying back]. I’m not sure if this meaning is known widely outside the UK.
17 Icy peninsula gripped by polar extremes (8)
SIBERIAN – IBERIA (peninsula) contained [gripped] by S and N (polar extremes). More on this at 16dn.
19 Fastener is essential (6)
STAPLE – Two definitions, the second as in “staple diet”
22 Resentful, failure in the drink (6,5)
BITTER LEMON – BITTER (resentful), LEMON (failure)
23 Funny / tipple (3)
RUM – Two definitions with “funny” in the sense of “odd”. The second defintion can be any usually alcholic drink as in “what’s your tipple?”
25 Food in a green nut’s shell (7)
ALIMENT – A, LIME (green), N{u}T (‘s shell)
27 Hooligan gathering support: that’s arranged (4,3)
LAID OUT – LOUT (hooligan) containing [gathering] AID (support)
28 A number enjoy computer science (5)
DIGIT – DIG (enjoy), IT (computer science)
29 Unknown relative caught by bear, he acted (4,5)
CARY GRANT –  Y (unknown) + GRAN (relative) contained [caught]  by, CART (bear). The Hollywood actor born in Bristol as Archibald Leach.
1 Substance containing cold, distilled residue (5)
PITCH – PITH (substance ) containing C (cold). I’ve never really thought about what this is, but apparently it’s the residue from the distillation of wood tar or turpentine.
2 Sovereign refusing a compromise (7)
IMPERIL – IMPERI{a}L (sovereign) [refusing a]
3 Dear to secure a tender rump, piece of meat in butcher’s shop (11)
CHARCUTERIE – CHERIE (dear) contains [to secure] A + {tende}R [rump) + CUT (piece of meat)
4 Sidekick shot Mickey Mouse (6)
PALTRY – PAL (sidekick), TRY (shot)
5 Matter of chance to see girl swim round close to creek (5,3)
LUCKY DIP – LUCY (girl) contains [round] {cree}K [close],   DIP (swim)
6 Devotee following a name (3)
FAN – F (following), A, N (name)
7 Mount to climb in African country, not South African (7)
UGANDAN – NAG (mount – horse) reversed [to climb] inside {s}UDAN (African country) [not South]
8 State bottling wind up in Cologne (9)
FRAGRANCE – FRANCE (state) containing [bottling] RAG (wind up – tease). A definition by example with reference to Eau de Cologne.
13 A1 is unfinished (11)
OUTSTANDING – Two definitions
14 Ruin meals for the panel (9)
DASHBOARD – DASH (ruin – one’s hopes, perhaps), BOARD (meals – e.g. full/half board, meals included)
16 Graceful and flowing, Lake Erie finally freezing all round? (8)
BALLETIC – BALTIC (freezing) containing [all round] L (lake) + {Eri}E [finally]. After icy Siberia we now have the freezing Baltic. Actually, although “Baltic” has made it to some of the usual sources as a synonym for very cold, “Siberian” has not, though I’d have thought it was common enough.
18 In time, note included in report (7)
BATTING – T (time) + TI (note) included in BANG (report). The ins and outs of cricket once again.
20 Climbers on this mountain admitting a brute to ascend? (7)
PERGOLA – ALP (mountain) containing [admitting] OGRE (brute) all reversed [to ascend]
21 One walker or another wiping brow? (6)
AMBLER – {r}AMBLER (another – walker) with “wiping brow” as an unusual deletion indicator and one that only works for a Down clue.
24 Tyre’s outside in vehicle test, part of the service? (5)
MOTET – T{yr}E [‘s outside] in MOT (vehicle test – Ministry of Transport). The ministry has changed its title over the years but the name of the safety check survives. Like the cantata at 10ac a motet can be a religious piece that’s part of a church service.
26 Piece of furniture, a table put away (3)
EAT – Hidden [[piece of] {furnitur}E A T{able}

49 comments on “Times Cryptic 26528 – A Touch of Frost”

  1. … you found this fairly easy. By contrast, I needed lots of checkers to get answers to the clues where there wasn’t much to go on — such as 1ac and 13dn. Always get stuck with reverse inclusions too (7dn, 20dn).

    The frosty theme was taken to heart here where it’s been unseasonally cold for the end of September: Siberian and Baltic describe the icy winds perfectly.

      1. But look at the overnight lows. Even colder than Perth down here. The kangaroo paws are barely out and wilting.
  2. I found this more difficult than our blogger and took about 75 minutes. After nutting out a few of the (for me) more difficult ones, I missed the anagram at 9, probably the easiest clue in the puzzle. DILATE for ‘speak at length’ was new to me, as was BALTIC for ‘freezing’. My favourites were FLUFF, CANTATA, ‘In…’ for BATTING (even if it is a bit of a chestnut) and the def for PERGOLA.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  3. 18 minutes and change, so good for me and hopefully enough to topple the Sydneysider for a second consecutive day.

    Last 4 minutes spent on the 9a/2d crossers, with IMPERIL first to fall, sailing being out there with science as one of my weak suits.

    Go Doggies!

    1. Two in a row, but the question is can you (and the Doggies) keep it up?

      The smart money says no.

  4. Thought I had done well to wrestle this beast into submission, only to find that:
    1. DUSTBOARD is not a word. Not sure why I ever imagined it was, especially when it doesn’t even fit the clue.
    2. Others considered the beast to in fact be a “leisurely” solve.
    3. I suffered the ultimate ignominy for the second day in a row (see above).
    None of which was the setter’s fault of course. Well done, COD to BATTING. And thanks for the blog Jack.
    1. It’s the rarest of occasions when I find a puzzle easier than the majority (so far, that is), as it’s usually the other way about.

      And speaking of which, and lots of talk of beasts this morning, have you tried today’s Quickie yet? Judging by my solving time, most of which was taken up by the 13-letter answers, I’d say IT is a bit of a beast, as befits its number!

      1. Just got around to it, and I think I benefitted from your tip-off. But yeah, definitely harder than the average Quicky. Especially the flowery thing.
    2. I just checked the leader-board where I usually look at neilr’s time for an indication of the level of difficulty. He needed 22m 13 for this, which suggests it really is on the hard side.

      Edited at 2016-09-27 05:27 am (UTC)

  5. I found this one tough – much in line with Bletchley and Vinyl. So 75 minutes.

    LOI in 18dn BATTING – terrible clue even if you are into cricket. The clue could have been simply – In(7)
    God help America! FOI 12ac CURRY POWDER.

    COD PALTRY – Mickey Mouse takes a hit! As did Donald ‘Duck’ this morning.


    horryd Shanghai

  6. 15:19 … I was going to say that this felt like bang on average Times difficulty but looking at other comments perhaps it was a wavelength puzzle.

    Steady progress for me, finishing with the tricky UGANDAN, where I suspected a trap until the penny dropped on the definition being “African”, not a horse or a mountain!

    jackkt, I like your idea of RUM and CURRY POWDER as internal heat sources for the cold months ahead. Sounds like a cocktail in need of a name.

  7. Far too tough for my brain this morning—one of those where in hindsight I was very close to several of the answers but hadn’t quite put my brain in the right place. One example would be DIGIT, where I have a degree in computer science and work in IT, but never associated the two…

    I did at least get the whole east side, including biffing local lad CARY GRANT (there’s a statue to him not far from here in Bristol) but the west mostly defeated me.

  8. I also found this harder than Jack. Had to slog away at it gradually digging out the clue constructions and answers. So well done Jack.

    I like 12A. More topical than you might think because the US captain has been saying some provocative things ahead of Friday’s start. Good clue setter.

  9. Yes, thinking about it, a wavelength puzzle. Took a while to start, FOI CURRY POWDER. 9ac came from reading Forester, Pope, O’Brian etc. TOPSAILs often being hoisted on their own durng storms. Dnk DILATE, like others, but have heard the word DILATORY, which is probably the same route. Could not parse CARY GRANT, but see it now, thanks jack. Re 28ac, the last but one Education Secretary (Gove) and the now Lord Chancellor (Truss) were at great pains to separate Computer Science from Information Technology, hence retraining for nearly all the teaching workforce in this area, and one is definitely not the other. 2d perfectly illustrates the complexities of the English language once again, as I spent time seeking a synonym for ‘arrive at a solution which keeps everyone quiet’. 23′ today, thanks jack and setter.
  10. 14m. I found this quite tricky, and I found myself relying on the wordplay a lot, which makes for a satisfying solve. No out-and-out unknowns, although I’m not sure I’ve come across this meaning of DILATE.
  11. Nearly didn’t see TOPSAIL until the sun was over the yardarm, not that I know the first thing about sailing, to my wife’s eternal disappointment. Once I saw that everything fell into place and I finished in 45 minutes. When we bought this place 30 years ago we inherited an old PERGOLA whose wood was rotting. Every year we replace poles so that, although we claim it as an original feature, it’s a bit like Washington’s axe with its three new handles and two new blades.
      1. I don’t know, maybe Washington did tell a lie and filched the idea from Boadicea. But let’s give it to Trigger.
  12. I struggled with the NW corner – which is where I usually start. I wasted at least 5 minutes there. But the right hand side of the puzzle fell comparatively smoothly. LOI was DILATE which I’ve never heard of with that meaning. 1a was simple in retrospect. I can’t understand why I didn’t see it straight away. Off this am for a week in sunny Montenegro. So no more crosswords until I return. I’ve just dug out the Serbo-Croat phrase book which I bought in Yugoslavia in 1966. Last time I was in that part of the world. Something entertaining to read on the train. 35 minutes. Ann
  13. I found this quite straight forward too, so it must be a wavelength thing! 31 minutes with only UGANDAN not parsed and the required meaning of DILATE not previously met. I bypassed the NW after not seeing any answers quickly and filled in the NE quite rapidly starting with FAN. My LOI was CHARCUTERIE, as I needed all the checkers before spotting it. I enjoyed this puzzle. Thanks setter and Jack.
  14. Another slow starter, finishing in 21.05.
    I admit being puzzled by the wordplay for FRAGRANCE, failing to spot that there are three ways to divide the clue, not just two, and wondering what GRA or AGR had to do with anything. So thanks Jack for removing the veil.
    CARY GRANT reminded me instantly of the “How old Cary Grant?” “Old Cary Grant fine. How you?” exchange. Pity it wasn’t him after all.
  15. 8 minutes. I thought this was a huge amount of fun, and yes, when a puzzle has this much of a sense of humour it’s bound to be wavelengthy…
  16. I found most of this relatively straightforward (3/4 done in about 11 minutes) but I got thoroughly becalmed in the NW corner, twice, and eventually finished in 20:13.

    Principal was the chief Dean Martin of the day.

  17. Count me among the strugglers, with the cold places holding me up a fair bit. Looking back at the end it shouldn’t have been that difficult, I just was having a bad brain day.
  18. Verlaine took 8 minutes and I took 45. We both appear to have enjoyed it immensely. I can think of no better praise if I was a setter or editor.

  19. I’m a regular lurker on here, though I’m normally a day or three behind so posting is pointless. I have to say I find most of the blogs very useful, so thanks to those who produce them.

    I would make one request though – Jackkt’s presentation of the clues with the answers, underlined definitions and explanations is exemplary and exactly what one needs. On some other similar sites everybody seems to take a lot of trouble in a similar way but on here some don’t.

    It would be really appreciated if everyone would do the same – sometimes, certainly with tougher clues, what’s posted is not much help after all. Not all of us are as erudite as some of the bloggers!

    1. I used to spell things out a bit more on Fridays, but I wasn’t sure if I was being too patronising, and started giving only a minimal parsing (while being on hand to clear up any remaining confusion in the comments). If the feeling is that completely explicit explanations are preferable, I’d be happy to step it back up again!
      1. Whilst I appreciate anon’s kind comments about my own efforts I think it’s in the very nature of TftT that different bloggers have their own styles and there should be no attempt to enforce uniformity across the board. In any case it would probably fail and/or drive current or potential volunteer bloggers away in the attempt.

        As verlaine suggests, if minimal explanations are given there is always the option for other contributors to raise queries and that encourages interchange and discussion which surely is to be welcomed. In any case, explanations of clues are generally far more detailed now than in the days when I started coming here (nearly 10 years ago now) when it seemed nearly everybody who contributed (apart from me) was an expert.

        If I give a little more detail than some it’s because I blog both 15x15s and the Quickies and it helps me to use the same style for both rather than employing different mindsets. Also since the introduction of the Quick Cryptic I’ve become conscious that many newbies are trying to make the transition to the main puzzle.

        Edited at 2016-09-27 04:46 pm (UTC)

  20. 20 mins. I thought there was some clever stuff on display here and I was surprised to see that some of you found it easy, so I definitely agree it is a wavelength puzzle. Thanks to Penfold for resurrecting “Dean Martin”. I had a couple of them today, PRINCIPAL and TOPSAIL, and I also took longer than I should have done to enter AMBLER and PERGOLA. I finished back in the NW with DILATE after IMPERIL.
  21. Really enjoyed this one. A bit on the slow side for me, well behind my usual “markers” – Sotira and Keriothe – but I’m cutting myself some slack after doing it standing up in a sardine can on wheels out of Waterloo. LOI 1dn, COD 5dn but plenty of good fun crunchy clues. Nice one, setter.
    1. Standing up in a sardine can on wheels into Waterloo is my most common solving environment, but I will confess to an advantage this morning, solving online over a reasonably leisurely breakfast in Copenhagen.
  22. Tuesdays = After dinner solving, instead of after breakfast, usually slower, but worked steadily through this lovely puzzle in 35 minutes, nothing unknown but a few to mull over.
    Can’t believe there aren’t pergolas in Antipodea.
    Liked in = batting.
  23. 11:57 for this delightful puzzle.

    I don’t recall coming across BALTIC = “freezing” before and dithered over BALLETIC for a while at the end.

    I raise my hat to the setter for composing so many witty clues so economically. COD to 12ac (CURRY POWDER).

  24. Thirty-one minutes exactly for me. I did think this one was a bit more of a Monday puzzle than one expects on a Tuesday, but I enjoyed it.

    (The remainder of this post is intentionally blank.)

  25. Took several hours over a few days but I finished it with no cheats. Only the second Times I’ve finished. And I’m just rereading Tim Moorey’s book on how do do the Times crossword. It’s paying off! COD 18 BATTING. Very elegant. LOI 14a DILATE. Thoroughly enjoyed it all. Thanks to the setter and all here for the blog and feedback
    1. Congrats on your achievement, anon! Have you access to the Times Quick Cryptic published daily Mon-Fri? It’s a good place to practice your solving skills and build up confidence which will make solving the main puzzle easier.

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